There are certain things that most good rappers have, things that can’t be learned. First of all: the voice. But more important is the way a rapper uses the voice. Eminem and Tyler, The Creator’s voices couldn’t be more different, but they’ve both figured out how to use them. You can learn how to rap, sure, but there’s a reason why people have been using that “it” factor term for so long. It’s something that not many artists have, and it’s not something that can be pinpointed.

Memphis rapper 21 has only shared a few songs with the world, but he’s showing early signs of having “it.” He delivers words purposefully, like each one is a piece of the bigger picture and not some extra syllable crammed in to make a line complete. His words roll off the tongue like spoken word poetry, with a touch of André 3000’s charm and the cadence of an old soul (he’s not even old enough to legally drink yet).

“Basically ‘The Pink Bride’ is about loving someone who doesn’t fully love you back or love you back at all, which is something we’ve all been through,” 21 explains. “If you listen to the hook, she says, ‘I wanna say I love you, but it’s alright.’ That essentially sums everything up. So my process was just me thinking back on girls in the past who have led me on and had me in deep love with them, only to say they don’t feel the same way or only to be halfway in it. And the same for me, the girls I’ve led on and made them feel like I love them or was in love with them, only to let them down by not loving them the same. So it’s just about me telling my story about a girl (The Pink Bride) who led me to believe that she loved me as much as I loved her only to come to find out that she didn’t.”